The Word in the Wings

A behind-the-scenes look at how GPA artists are engaging with Scripture, from study to studio to presenting a Spirit-filled message on stage.

When you read “The Word in the Wings,” you’re invited to learn about the deep, biblical roots of our performance and about how GPA artists make connections between the biblical texts we study and the art you’ll see on stage.

 

We hope this opens the door for even deeper dialogue between you and God as the story of Scripture presents itself in new, perhaps unexpected ways through the medium of movement.

Without further ado...

How dance does theology: transforming familiar forms

The Word in the Wings
By: Kaya Prasad
Celeste Miller, from whom I studied choreography at Grinnell College, defines dance as “movement, aware of itself, practiced with intent.” Doris Humphrey, choreographer and dance educator, agrees that movement in dance is supported by purpose (110). Whether the idea is emotional, narrative, geometrical or kinetic, there is some cause motivating the execution of any given movement, and the details of the execution vary based on the particular nature of that cause (Humphrey, 113). Because dance movements express particular motivations, clear communication in dance depends on specificity of movement. The motivation of dance movement thus drives it away from moderate or generic expression.

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How dance does theology: an introduction

The Word in the Wings
By: Kaya Prasad
Glorify Performing Arts exists to create productions that help artists and audiences grow in relationship with God. Just how does dance accomplish this? Through the month of January 2022, The Word in the Wings will feature articles exploring some distinctive ways in which dance expresses meaning and generates theological understanding. This introductory article describes the function of art in Christian practice more generally to provide a framework for the rest of the series.

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From the study: Purifying peppermint

The Word in the Wings
By: Kaya Prasad
Candy canes are flavored with peppermint to evoke the aroma of hyssop, since both herbs are members of the mint family. Hyssop is used throughout the Old Testament for cleansing rituals, so it’s incorporated into the taste and smell of a candy cane to reference Jesus’s priestly task of purifying God’s people. The prophet Malachi also speaks of this purification, but he uses a different metaphor–that of a fire refining gold and silver. Malachi describes purification in the context of a word from Yahweh announcing the arrival of God’s “messenger” who is tasked with transforming the people of Israel and the character of their offerings.

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From the study: God’s rock-candy advent promises

The Word in the Wings
By: Kaya Prasad
According to popular legend, candy canes are made of hard rock candy as a symbol of the surety of God’s promises. In Luke 1:67-79 Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, praises God’s faithfulness and describes the significance of God’s activity in his time in terms of the fulfillment of age-old covenant promises to the people of Israel.

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From the stage: interpreting Label: Beauty through comedy and movement

The Word in the Wings
By: Kaya Prasad
Though Label: Beauty is a fun, lighthearted ballet, its message is profoundly theological, and every aspect of its production is steeped in a scriptural imagination. The ballet employs the distinctive capacities of movement and performing arts to generate new expressions of biblical ideas. I invite you, the audience, to notice what theological ideas are evoked and to return to those ideas where they are found in Scripture for further reflection. Before the curtain rises, I’ll offer a few potential starting points.

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From the study: Reading Ruth and participating in God’s redemptive purpose

The Word in the Wings
By: Kaya Prasad
The biblical story of Ruth moves from a foreign land to the land of Israel, from a time of famine to a time of harvest, from the suffering of loss and emptiness to the joy of fullness and life. On the whole, Ruth is a story of provision. The name of God is invoked throughout the story, giving a clearly theological overtone to the narrative’s redemptive arc. Yet human characters take an active role in this redemption; humans and their relationships to one another are the context in which God’s character is revealed in this story (Hawkins & Stahlberg xiv). By using ordinary people as the literary vehicle to reveal God, the book of Ruth suggests that the nature of God’s purpose in the world entails actions that are achievable on an individual level even while these are interwoven with a grander plan that God alone can accomplish.

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From the study: Humanity’s high and humble calling in the image of God

The Word in the Wings
By: Kaya Prasad
As Virginia, Sandra and other characters in Label: Beauty consider what it might mean to find their identity in Christ, they might be asking: What is the identity God offers me when I choose to follow Jesus? Hannah suggested in her interview last week that Gloria’s character views a relationship with God as limiting or distracting from her self-proclaimed purpose. How does God’s purpose for human life compare with the purpose someone might choose for themselves without reference to God’s design?

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Glorify Dance Theatre Presents

May 3-4

This is a family-friendly ballet that kids of ALL ages will enjoy!